Wednesday, February 24, 2010

binondo food trip bloggers

i was staring at the stamps displayed at the Manila Post office building while waiting for the chosen bloggers who were about to join the Binondo food trip using Old Manila Walks Binondo Food Wok map. one by one they arrived and i was actually excited to meet them. i requested them to introduce themselves and their blog. then i finally revealed to them one of the main goals for this food trip and that is to savor and rate the food that we will be trying out.
in this post, i'll introduce the bloggers and their background why they were chosen for this food trip.

blog: cher cabula's mindbox
blogger: cher
why she was chosen: never been on a Binondo food trip but heard so much about it and expects a food trip in Binondo as a sensational experience for the taste buds.
the challenge: an interior designer by profession, how will she find the usual Binondo Chinese restaurant?

blog: organized chaos
blogger: josh
why he was chosen: a blogger who used to work in a restaurant. he can give us a perspective of someone who came from the same field and as he says he'll even wear his dragon shirt for the occasion.
the challenge: he's allergic to crowd and Binondo will definitely be crowded.

blog: recession fun
blogger: ann and arch
why she was chosen: she needs an escape and an excuse to prepare something special for her special friend... feels like she can find that special something for him in China town.
the challenge: she says "It would be a nice thing to do on the double jeopardy date of Feb.14 being Heart's Day and Chinese New Year!" a crowded Binondo and the noise of the Chinese new year might not be the best place for a hearts day. let's see.

blog: beyond toxicity
blogger: docgelo
why he was chosen: has been to Binondo many times for a food trip but finds it more special by being in Binondo on a new year chasing dragons. can rate the food in comparison to the other food that he tried before.
the challenge: won't be his usual fun and sweet food trip as he won't be with his wife and son on a valentine's day.

blog: no spam no virus no kiddin
blogger: chyng
why she was chosen: quite normal for her to be out on a food trip and even did the very challenging Sagada cave connection. wants her camera Harvey to meet my camera Fang.
the challenge: after all the tasty food trips in Sagada and the sumptuous food that she's been eating around the metro, a Binondo food trip will definitely be different...the five who will join me in reviewing the Binondo Food Wok map and explore the food and the culture of the Chinoys that we've embraced through time. the Binondo Food walk begins here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

a monument an island and a sling

Singapore was not spared from the two world war. today, a cenotaph stands along Connaught drive as a memorial landmark dedicated to those who died in the two world war. we just dropped by when we were on our way to Singapore's island theme park. Sentosa.it was once known as Pulau Blakang Mati then Pulau Panjang and later named Sentosa island. the old names represents what the island was during those times. what used to be a base of the naval force is now an island theme park and resort.we went there on a weeknight so there were not much activity to see and do. one can also find Singapore's largest merlion statue in this island. we went directly to the southern part, the beach side. walked along the beach of Palawan and crossed to a smaller island that holds the title as the southernmost point of continental Asia. you can find tow cottage towers where one can rest with a view of Singapore's harbour.Uinversal Studios will be opening soon here in this island and we already saw a bit of what it will be like when we were on our way back to the main island. our last stop was a big surprise for me as my colleague said that this i shouldn't miss when i visit Singapore.we were driving along the beautiful Marina bay and down to one of the country's most luxurious hotel, Raffles Hotel. we headed straight to Long Bar which is the birthplace of the Singapore sling. a cocktail invented by a bartender in Raffles hotel years back. so good to end a busy day with this.a band was playing on the second level but what caught my attention the most were the scattered peanut shells below the tables. my colleague joked saying that it's the only place where the Singaporeans are allowed to scatter trash.we ended staying there till 12midnight listening to the band who actually looked like Filipinos. it was a great experience seeing Singapore at night as much as it is by day. i'm ending my Singapore series here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

singapore river cruise

it was like experiencing Singapore transform from a mere fishing village to one of the busiest seaport in Asia today. a port hub to exporting and importing goods to the rest of the Southeast Asian nations.my colleague asked me if i wanted the Singapore flyer or the river cruise. being on top of a moving wheel seeing the central district was great, but it was when he mentioned that the cruise includes a voice over of tales of the Lion city that convinced me to choose the latter.it has several embarkation points along the Singapore river, we took off from the Merlion park jetty riding a wooden bumboat that brought us along Singapore's calm river.as the voice over began, it explains what you can see on each side. a few tales and stories of how significant it was to what Singapore is today. passing under eleven bridges and dropping by three quays that illuminates the riverside. among the best view from the boat is the Fullerton hotel, which used to be the central post office building turned to a five star hotel. built in 1928 and was later declared an architectural heritage. the whole cruise was just about thirty minutes, just the right time for you not to feel bored. the last view was a peek of the rising Marina Bay Sands resort. it will be one of Singapore's newest attraction and i must say one of the grandest structure there.dong ho recommends you to take the cruise at night and try the flyer by day. the Singapore cruise costs S$15 at present and is open daily from 9:00am to 11:00pm.

Monday, February 15, 2010

esplanade at night

"that's two big durian fruit" as my Singaporean colleague describes it while we were descending the lower ground parking lot of Esplanade, Singapore's largest centre for performing arts. it might sometimes be compared to Sydney's Opera House as it is grand and are both built beside a bay. what makes this distinct, are its aluminum sunshade roof that creates a nice lighting effect at night.regular performance of local and international artists are held here and by chance just drop by as free shows happens at the concourse, its central foyer. its main theater accommodates 2,000 people.we walked around and the view are undoubtedly nice whether you see it from inside or outside. its pillars shows that it was designed to be a masterpiece designed by a Singaporean and London-based architectural firm.what used to be a food shop community, has now turned into a grand iconic centre. but i was so surprised that in contrast as to how grand this area is, stands what looks like a street cart under a huge umbrella. "oh this one you shouldn't miss" my colleague was rushing to bring me to its direction.when we reached it, just then i learned that it's indeed a street cart that sells ice cream for just one Singaporean dollar. and what surprised me even more is you get to choose to either have it in between a bread or in between wafers. it tasted great! one that i highly recommend after a walk around Esplanade.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

central singapore and the merlion

when i was looking at the island state from the plane, i observed that it isn't that small as i thought it was. it's the smallest nation in Southeast Asia yet the entire island is actually bigger than Metro Manila.it is even expected to be bigger in the coming years as it expands through reclamations like its airport. yet when one talks about it's central area, then it is definitely small. its financial center covers a great part of the central area.it's a cosmopolitan gateway and port hub, thus having its workforce as its main resource for its stable economy. today it is considered as one of the most business-friendly economy in the world.it is as well a nice tourist stop for the urban chic as it has high class shopping centers and the city itself, looks like one big park. among the country's most iconic sites includes the center for performing arts Esplanade and the symbolic Merlion.fronting Marina bay, stands the original Merlion statue, which was repaired recently after it was struck by a lightning February last year. lightning was named Kidlat. a cub merlion can also be seen in the same park which is smaller than the original one. three more can be seen around Singapore the largest in Sentosa.the original statue is made of cement with porcelain plates layer and its eyes made up of red tea cups. according to my Singaporean counterpart, the Merlion has a mythical background back in the olden days. one that i need to find out.

Monday, February 8, 2010

multi-culture singapore

walking around the central district of Singapore is a great activity. a display of a multi-cultural country with the influence of the British occupation gives a tourist a perspective of a modern Asia.with Chinese being the biggest linguistic group followed by Malays and Indians with the rest as minorities. yet i noticed that people of different race and language would go well in and around the city.given a very short period to roam around the city, i had my chance to drop by the nearby Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho temple. a Chinese temple built from a Chinese folklore of a lady named Kuan Yin who devoted her life to counter with the suffering of the people.surprisingly, just beside this temple stands a historical Hindu temple, the Sri Khrisnan temple. built in 1959 because of the active Hindu community around the area. a story of the banyan tree leads to the history of this structure.a big festive celebration happens in this area every September to commemorate Hindu's Lord Khrisnan's birthday. what made it more interesting is even the Chinese community would drop by and give respect to the temple. this again shows how diverse this country is.personally, i'm really fascinated by India's culture specifically their artwork as it is greatly shown in this temple. it's actually my first time to see a Hindu temple. this temple has on it statues of people including the Hindu gods Sri Vigneshwarar and Sri Hanuman.a walk along Victoria street not far from this two temple is the St Joseph church with a Gothic design. built by the Portugese in the early 19th century. popular for the procession that happens here every Good Friday.even with that short walk, i was quite impressed with how the people would respect each others belief. this might be just one of the reason why Singapore continues to prosper.

Note: to visit the three structures, you can ride a taxi from your hotel tell them to drop you at Waterloo street. from here you'll see, the Chinese and the Hindu temple and a short walk along Victoria street will lead you to St Joseph church.

Friday, February 5, 2010

singapore changi airport

it didn't felt so much like going outside the country since the Philippines is an archipelago, where we're used to fly by air to go to other regions. it was even more comforting since i was flying with our country's flag carrier.woke up early for my first ever flight to Lion City, Singapura. doing it alone wasn't even a concern because of this country's reputation of having an impressive airport system. i went there by the way for a training with the company that i'm working right now.i slept more than half of the three-hour trip since it was just seeing clouds over plain sea view. when the plane was approaching the Malaysian peninsula, first thing one would notice are the many cargo ships and the buildings along its coast.changi airport currently has three terminals and still has a very wide area for expansion since it's a reclamed site. though there were signs on almost every corner and are all in English language, one can still get lost because of its size. sometimes you may wonder if there were just very few people inside the airport or it's just that huge. just passed by the shopping area that made it look more like a mall rather than an airport.when checking out, one can have the option to either take the train system or the more traditional way of taking a taxi to about twenty to thirty minutes to the country's central district. what i like most with this airport is its spacious area.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

kaeskapo sa binondo

just days away from the Eskapo's food trip at Manila's China town, Binondo. finally i decided who to bring who i also believe can help me explore one of the world's oldest China town. i've chosen cher, shattershards, chyng, docgelo, and ann. please email me at i.dongho@gmail.com so i'll send the details. as for the rest don't worry, i have a list of food trips coming in a yet to reveal area. the Big Binondo Food Wok map are now available in some book shops and restaurants.

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